Tuesday, July 5, 2022

So how will William and Catherine be styled after Charles is King

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Please, please do not read Mail online articles about the British royal family!  The writers of these articles have no expertise in how the British monarchy works: from family relationships to how someone is titled.

Last week, the Mail online ran a poorly written and researched article about how William and Catherine will be styled as heir, wife of the heir, sovereign, and wife of the sovereign.

The article neglected to mention that when Charles becomes king, William succeeds as Duke of Cornwall (in England) and Duke of Rothesay (in Scotland).  The latter title was used by the heir apparent to the throne of Scotland before the 1707 Act of Union.

The Duchy of Cornwall is the oldest of all English Duchies,  It was created in 1337 for Edward, the Black Prince, the eldest son of King Edward III.  As the Black Prince died before his father,  the title was re-created for his son, the future Richard II.

A royal charter, established in 1421, further defined the inheritance of the dukedom.  The succession is limited to one person: the eldest son of the sovereign.    When George II's eldest son,  Frederick, the Prince of Wales, died in 1751, his eldest son -- George II's grandson-- the future King George III became the heir apparent.

But the young George was unable to become the Duke of Cornwall as he was not the eldest son of the sovereign.

I am sure some of my readers will ask -- so when William becomes the Duke of Cornwall. what happens to the title Duke of Cambridge?  Does George become the Duke of Cambridge?

In a word, no.  The only way George can succeed to the Cambridge dukedom is for his father to die before his grandfather.

William will remain as Duke of Cambridge until he becomes king when his peerages revert to the Crown.   George, as the heir apparent, will become Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay.    Cambridge will remain with the Crown until the Sovereign decides to create a new peerage for a male member of the royal house.

It is possible that after William is the heir apparent, he will be styled as HRH The Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge.   This means  Catherine will be styled as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.  Their children will be  "of Cornwall and Cambridge."

There is a modern precedent for this double ducal style.   When Queen Victoria died in January 1901, she was succeeded by her eldest son, Albert Edward, who became King Edward VII.  His only surviving son, George, was the Duke of York.

George's new title was HRH The Duke of Cornwall and York.  His wife, Mary, became HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and York.  Their four children,  Princes Edward (David), Albert and Henry, and Princess Mary, ceased to be styled as "of York."   After their grandfather became king, their new title was "of Cornwall and York."

 I can hear your next question?   Marlene... won't William be Prince of Wales when Charles succeeds to the throne.  No, not right away

The title Prince of Wales is NOT HEREDITARY.   The title is given to the heir apparent at the discretion of the Sovereign.    It was not until November 9, 1901 (King Edward VII's birthday) that the King announced he was creating his son, George, the Duke of Cornwall and York, as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.

Within days, the Book of Common Prayer was amended, changing the prayers for the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York to prayers for the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The children of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York also saw a title change.  Edward,  Albert, Henry, and Mary were now styled "of Wales."

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George did not stop being Duke of Cornwall or Duke of York.   He was styled as Duke of Cornwall when he visited Cornwall.

The present Prince of Wales is styled as Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, when he visits his duchy.    When he visited Scotland, he used to be styled as the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Rothesay.  He is now styled in Scotland as The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay.


A change of style came in the late 1990s.

Charles will confer the titles of Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on his eldest son, but the announcement will unlikely be made within the first weeks of his accession.   Queen Elizabeth II did not name Charles as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester until July26, 1958, nearly 60 years ago.

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When William is named as Prince of Wales, his wife -- HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge  -- will become HRH The Princess of Wales.   She will not be HRH Catherine, Princess of Wales.   George, Charlotte, and Louis will stop using "of Cornwall and Cambridge," as their new style will be "of Wales."

HRH The Princess of Wales.   Just like  Lady Diana Spencer,  Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, Princess Alexandra of Denmark,  Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, and so on.

Following her divorce from the Prince of Wales,  Diana was styled as Diana, Princess of Wales.   A widow or a divorced wife of a peer is styled by her first name, followed by the title. 

What about Camilla?   She is HRH The Princess of Wales, but she is styled as HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.  I believe the decision to use Cornwall was done to appease the Dianamanics.   I think it is silly to not style Camilla as HRH The Princess of Wales. 

William will be King William V.  His wife will be styled as  Queen Catherine.  The silly Mail Online stated she will be styled, as Queen Catherine VI.

Er. No.  The sovereign, not the consort, gets a regnal number.  Catherine will be the sixth woman with a variant of the name Catherine to be a consort.

Officially, the style is The King and The Queen.  No names.  The informal use will be King William V and Queen Catherine.

William will sign his name as William R.  Catherine will sign as Catherine.  The R is for Rex, Latin for King.   Queen Elizabeth II signs as Elizabeth R.  The R is for Regina,  Latin for Queen.

As a Queen consort, Catherine will be able to use the R after her name.  Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth (consorts of George V and VI) did sign their names with the R.  Queen Alexandra (the consort of Edward VII) did not.

Duke of Cornwall:  inherited by the eldest son of the Sovereign.
Duke of Rothesay: inherited by the eldest son of the Sovereign (used in Scotland)
Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester:  conferred on the male heir apparent at the discretion of the Sovereign.    George II named his grandson Prince of  Wales, a month after the death of his son.

The revenues from the Duchy of Cornwall provide financial support for the heir apparent and his family.   In 2011, the status of the Duchy of Cornwall changed. Before this change, the duchy (and its monies) reverted to the Crown, if the heir apparent was not the eldest son of the Sovereign. 

There was no Duke of Cornwall from January 20, 1936, until February 6, 1952, when Elizabeth II succeeded to the throne and her son, Charles, became the Duke of Cornwall.

In 2011, Parliament passed the Sovereign Grant Act.  One of the changes to the law will allow the revenue from the duchy to be inherited by the heir apparent even if the heir apparent is not the eldest son, and not eligible to be styled as Duke of Cornwall.

Until the change in the succession law, the eldest son was automatically the heir apparent.  Now the eldest child will be the heir apparent.    A female heir apparent or a male heir apparent who is not the eldest son of the sovereign (future George III), cannot inherit the title at this time but she or he will receive the funding from the Duchy in the same manner.

As titles are a part of the Sovereign's position as the "fountain of all honours," the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act did not change how Cornwall can be inherited, if the eldest child is a daughter.   I expect that the royal charter will be amended to allow for the inheritance of the eldest child of the sovereign.

It will be up to the Sovereign to also decide if the female heir apparent will receive the titles of Princess of Wales and Countess of Chester.

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The official investiture of the Prince of Wales is a modern invention.   King George V named his eldest son as Prince of Wales on the latter's 16th birthday, June 23, 1910.    It was the Welsh politician and Prime Minister David Lloyd George's idea for a formal investiture ceremony in Wales.  This took place on June 13, 1911.

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Barbara said...

Oh Marlene I wish those fools at the Daily Mail would employ you to write their royal stories. I cringe every time I read the rubbish they put out. The only reason I look at the Daily Mail is because they usually have good photographs of events... but even the captions are sometimes laughable!

Patricia said...

Excellent Marlene, thank you for this! I often see writers refer to 'Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge' and I knew I had heard before that this was incorrect. Now I know why!

The Blessed Virgin said...

What if the Queen abdicates and Charles becomes King. Same rule applies as you mention ?

I know the Queen won't abdicate, but lets just say if she did.

Unknown said...

Catherine will be allowed to use an "R" after her name, when she becomes Queen. I say this because in the Wedding Certificate of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip, the Queens Mary and Elizabeth did that as present to the act.
Charles and William will not necessarily be Charles III or Willima V. They can choose whatever name they like, they have both four names to consider...
Climerio Cardoso de Oliveira

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Yes, Catherine will be able to use the R .. Yes, Charles and William can choose another name, but unlikely. Charles' office some years ago stated categorically that the story about using George as a regnal name was not true and he will be King Charles.

It will take an act of Parliament for the queen to abdicate. Same rules ...

Portista desde 1956 said...

Thank you for all these extremely helpful explanations. Learned a lot today.
When Charles becomes king, will Camilla become Queen or will remain as Duchess as did the Duke of Edimburgh?
Thank you

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

In the UK, traditionally, the wife of the king is a queen. It was stated at the time of their marriage that Camilla would be called Princess Consort, again to appease a certain element of the population. Time has passed. There are no laws that require the wife of a king to be a queen. Husbands of a sovereign do not take their wives' rank but women take their husbands' rank unless their rank is higher. Camilla's rank will be Queen Consort. I expect she will be Queen Camilla ...

John Richmond said...

Why isn't the courtesy title "Earl of Strathearn" used in conjunction with Prince George of Cambridge?

hamachi said...

My current favorite royalty trivia question is: Who is the Duke of Lancaster? ��

Brent said...

Once again, another well written, easy to understand article ! It never fails to amaze me how people just get it all wrong! Catherine VI...I loved that one , I must have just never read about Catherines I-V before ( lol)..My current peeves are : Duchess Kate and Duchess Meaghan. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Sophie, Countess of Wessex...all these dowagers/divorcees still married! I live in the UK and they get it wrong here...frequently!

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

John, the courtesy titles are for the male line descendants who are not royal as the HRH and title of Prince/ess is reserved for the children of the sovereign , grandchildren of the sovereign in the male line and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. The Queen issued a Letters Patent before Catherine gave birth to George. If the first child had been a girl, she would have been styled Lady Charlotte even though she would have been third in line due to the change in succession. So the Queen gave the HRH and title of Prince/ess to all of William's kids. This is based on the 1917 Letters Patent. Great grandchildren in the male line would be styled as daughters and younger sons of a duke (Prince Michael of Kent's) or if the grandson has a peerage, his eldest son would bear the courtesy title --and other children styled as younger sons of a duke and daughters of a duke. This is why the sons of the Dukes of Gloucester and Kent are the Earls of Ulster and St. Andrews. When the earls succeed their fathers, they will not be royal dukes, but will drop down the table of precedence for a duke as the titles are in the peerage of the United kingdom, but as the current dukes royal, as cousins of the Queen, their precedence is higher

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

There is no actual Duke of Lancaster. Not since 1413, when Henry of Monmouth, duke of Lancaster, son of Henry Bolingbroke (henry IV), became King Henry V.

Title has never been re-created. The Duchy of Lancaster provides an income to the Sovereign. The Queen is not the duke of Lancaster, although toasts to the Queen, the Duke are made at events in connection with the duchy, but there has not been a duke since 1413.

Michelle said...

So what are the chances that the children currently styled "of Cambridge" will change the last name they use in everyday life if still unmarried (as seems all but certain)?

Also, why was the Black Prince called that?

I can't believe the DM actually gave Catherine a theoretical regnal number. Even for them, that's awful.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

When the title changes, they will use the appropriate geographic designation. Edward was called the Black prince because he probably wore Black armour at the Battle of Crecy

Michelle said...

Marlene, any precedent for what will happen in regards to Harry's title when his father becomes king, should the present Duke of York predecease Charles? Andrew has no male heirs, so the title would be free again. Is it likely that Charles would choose to make Harry the Duke of York, or would he be more likely to stick with what Harry already has? Any other title changes you can see for him, or is he probably going to be the Duke of Sussex for the rest of his life? I'm also curious about his children. His kids will be the equivalent of Beatrice & Eugenie, children of the second son of the monarch (once Charles is king), and that means they'd have to carve their own path in many ways. Do you think we will see him request that his children are referred to in the way that Edward's kids are? Technically I know Harry's kids will have the HRH Prince(ss) once Charles is king, but Louise & James Wessex would've as well, and are not referred to as such. I personally could see Harry wanting to make his kids' lives a little easier by having their titles "toned down" given that they are not going to be working royals if current example holds, but I'm curious as to your views since you're the expert!

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Harry is Duke of Sussex for life. The York peerage will revert to the Crown, when Andrew dies to be recreated at another time. The next duke of York could be Louis.

The announcement about Edward's kids was made on the day of the wedding. No announcement was made when Harry got married. I expect there will be a LP to give the children the HRH and title Prince/ess but we will not know for sure until Meghan is pregnant.

Unknown said...

Your article erroneously states that Catherine will be Catherine VI. Since she will be Queen Consort only and not queen in her own right she will be styled Queen Catherine and NOT Catherine VI

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Dear Unknown .. learn to read .. I state categorically that Catherine does not get a regnal number .. that the Mail makes that comment ...

Andrea said...

Can William use another Name, when he will be King, for example George, George VII?

His grandfather was baptised as Albert (other names too, was called Albert) and George VI as King.



Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Bertie was baptized Albert Frederick Arthur George He was always known as Bertie but chose to use George as his regnal name to honor his father and the continuity of the monarchy. William will be William IV He was baptized William Arthur Philip Louis. George is not one of his names